May 19, 2015

Late Nineties Mets Utility Player: Jim Tatum (1998)

James Ray Tatum was born on October 9th 1967 in Grossmont, California.  He is the only player to ever come from Grossmont. The six foot two, right hand hitter was signed by the San Diego Padres in the third round of the 1985 amateur draft. In 1992 he was selected by the Colorado Rockies as the 44th overall pick in the expansion draft.

Tatum spent seven years in the minor leagues, before getting a big league promotion, missing all of 1989. At AAA Denver in 1992 he hit .329 with 36 doubles & 101 RBIs, earning himself a September call up. In 1993 he played a career high 92 games & led the majors with 17 pinch hits, but hit just .204.

In 1996 he played for the Boston Red Sox (two games) & San Diego Padres at the big league level. Tatum played 14 years in the minor leagues, hitting .292 with 1318 hits 22 HRs  275 doubles & 152 RBIs.

In 1998, Tatum signed as a free agent with the New York Mets. Tatum debuted on Opening Day as a pinch hitter in the Mets 1-0 thirteen inning win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

On April 22nd, he had his day in the sun as he came to bat as a pinch hitter, in a 7-7 tie at Shea Stadium. Tatum hit a walk off three run HR against Doug Henry to beat the Houston Astros 10-7.

Tatum was seeing quality playing time early on, as he batted .300 with two HRs & ten RBIs in the month of April. In May he fell off to a .220 average with just two RBIs playing in thirteen games. By mid June he was sent down to AAA Norfolk & would not return to the majors again. For the Mets he hit .180 with two HRs one double & 13 RBIs & a .211 on base %.  He would play at first base, outfield, third base, DH & even catcher (four games) for New York.

In a five year career he batted .194 with three HRs seven doubles & 13 RBIs.

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